About Our Summer Camp Counselors & Instructors

World Class Facilities

Your camper will have a fun, safe, and memorable experience in our state-of-the-art facilities and our team of amazing staff.

Phenomenal Team

Our team is educated and trained in their field of expertise and love working with kids.


Your camper is welcome regardless of race, color, gender, national origin, sex, or disability.


Your camper will have the best summer ever–and they’ll want to do it all over again next year.

Camp Counselors

All cabin counselors are current college students who have a background working with children. Applicants go through a rigorous hiring process, including multiple interviews, a background check, and drug testing. Additionally, many cabin counselors were Sea Campers themselves.

Counselors go through an intensive 8-day training program before any campers arrive at camp. They are trained in team building, group leadership, child development, and safety. All of this trains them to be sensitive to individual campers’ needs and life experiences. Camp logistics and programs are also covered during training. Additionally, counselors participate in a number of role-playing activities to prepare for situations that could arise during the summer.

Marine Biology Camp Instructors

We take pride in employing a well-trained staff of the highest quality. All staff must have a background check and pass a drug test before being hired.

The Diving, Sailing, and Science & Adventure instructors all have at least a Bachelor’s Degree, usually in the Sciences, and are trained and certified in their particular specialty. All of our diving instructors are certified by NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) and our sailing instructors are certified by the ASA (American Sailing Association).

Additionally, all of our instructors have a background working with children, and many work full-time during the year as teachers for our CIMI (Catalina Island Marine Institute) Marine Science education program. Specialty instructors also participate in the 8-day training program prior to camp. During this intensive training program, they learn the specifics of teaching their particular specialty and how to tailor their teaching style and activities to children and teenagers. Specialty instructors also are trained in emergency procedures, first aid/CPR, and lifesaving.

Catalina Sea Camp Team & History

Established in 1979, Guided Discoveries was the natural outgrowth of Ross and Kristi Turner’s experience as schoolteachers taking students on science-related field trips. During these excursions, they began to realize the power of a fun and immersive science-based program. In 1976, Ross and Kristi took the leap and moved their young family to Catalina Island, California to run Camp Cherry Valley for the Boy Scouts. By 1978, Ross and Kristi, along with long-time friends Steve Garrett (Board Chairperson) and Jerry Tambe, incorporated Guided Discoveries, Inc. as a 501(c)(3) non-profit leading what would later become Catalina Island Marine Institute or CIMI (pronounced ‘see-me’). Then in 1979, we began our first summer camp program Catalina Sea Camp.

As CIMI and Sea Camp programs continued to prosper, Guided Discoveries began to consider expansion and conducted its first AstroCamp pilot program in 1988. Using the same hands-on educational philosophy as the CIMI program, AstroCamp focused on astronomy and the physical sciences rather than the ocean. In 2015, Guided Discoveries acquired Camp Motorsport and expanded the Camp Motorsport program to include AstroCamp in Virginia.

The Guided Discoveries’ vision continues to expand as it considers other exciting opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of children.

Catalina Sea Camp


Ross Turner

President & CEO Of
Guided Discoveries Inc.


Paul “ButterKup” Kupferman

Summer Operations Director & Toyon Bay Summer Camp Director

Jacqueline Howe

Jacqueline “Jacqui” Howe

Fox Landing Summer Camp Director


Jeff Chace

Toyon Bay Program Director


Heather Peterson

Fox Landing Program Director

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